Monday, May 21, 2012

Communication Complications

Communication is the primary focus of writing. Even in fiction, communication comes before entertainment because you are communicating a story. Even in psychological thriller novels, with their twisting, confusing plots, the writer still has to communicate images and events effectively in order to create the tension over an unknown element.

In writing, you need to know your readers. You need to know how to communicate to them.

One thing you must know about communication, even if you're talking with an English-speaking person, is that it's likely you are speaking in a different style than they are. What I mean by style is that you will speak in a way, using different words and expressions, that will be different from the other English-speaking person.

Everyone has different ways of talking. Everyone presents ideas through different methods. I have sat through a few presentations by students at my school and I have watched and listened (after all, it was expected of me and I'm a writer) and I noticed that no one starts their presentation in the same way. Just that single difference is only one in a host of differences which include voice tone, hand movements, voice volume, eye contact, and jargon.

In one of those presentations there was a student talking about football. Now, I don't watch football much, and I haven't really watched it at all since coming to college, so I didn't understand much of his presentation. In fact, there were several terms that I just didn't understand in the slightest. This is an example of how jargon, a beautiful thing in its diversity, is a large element of miscommunication.

 In order to achieve the clearest communication to the largest group of people, it is important to cut the jargon out of your writing.

There are times, when you know what type of audience you are writing to, where you can use jargon and be appreciated for it. Indeed, it will make your communication all the clearer. But that is only if your audience is familiar with the jargon you use. For example, you couldn't use military jargon when writing for a magazine that focuses on computer technology and people who work in that field.

The removal of jargon is an effective method that you can use to clean up your communication. Remember, jargon (even if not educational jargon) can lead complicated communication. And complicated communication is often times no communication at all. 

Ladies and Gentlemen, to cover what we have talked about, I give you a...nice list!

1. Writing is first and foremost communication

2. The same language does not mean the same understanding of communication.

3. Clearest communication is achieved by the removal of jargon.

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